This month's cover art: Marion McConaghie

January 29, 2018

 

 

This month’s cover comes from Marion McConaghie, a painter and graphic designer based here in Lewes. “My background is in fine art,” she says, “and then I moved into graphic design work. But within that world I felt frustrated, creatively speaking – I wanted to do my own thing. It’s hard to balance creativity with making a living. So I started working on my own projects, designing images for card publishing, things like that, on the side.”

 

Marion started creating her first ‘book prints’ – vintage-style illustrations printed onto the pages of old books – which she would post online. “They were spotted by art publishers King & McGaw, in Newhaven, who supply the shops at the V&A and the National Gallery, and they kind of went off on their own journey.” Now the designs are available on products from mugs to wallpaper, at stockists including Hove-based Lagom Design

(lagomdesign.co.uk).

 

“Some artists stay very much within painting or printmaking or digital design,” Marion says, “but I don’t really feel like I want to be boxed within one of those categories. The book prints (which I call the ‘design’ side of my work) and the fine art (my paintings and portraits) are two very different styles, but they mirror my background and where I am today. What ties them together is this sense of past and history that runs through both sides – that’s something I’m really interested in. Living in Lewes, which is so rich in history, has been a big influence on me. I love rummaging through all the antique shops, collecting books, illustrations, textures. They’re almost like museums. Lewes is the perfect place to find inspiration.”

 

 

 

Her design for our cover is put together “like a collage, piecing together different surfaces and different patterns. I’ll look through lots of old books, and look at different surfaces and different patterns, and start from there.” The two swans reflect on pieces of her previous work: “It’s based on my Pigeons in Love image, which is a popular dictionary print, and then also on a painting I did of two horses with a heart – that idea of animals and love. I guess each piece is linked in some way to other ones that I’ve done before.”

 

“I quite like incorporating things that don’t make sense,” says Marion, “creating that little twist on things. So around the swans I added peacock textures – and that bright pink. But why not? Because in art you can do that kind of thing, and in life you can’t.”

 

 

You can see more of Marion’s work at marionmcconaghie.co.uk or follow her

on Instagram: marionmcconaghie / @marionmccdesign

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